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Lap Desk Collection

Collection 436

Lap Desk Collection

86 items

This is a collection of antique writing desks. Lap desks featured a writing surface, compartments for pens, ink, and sand or blotting paper, and storage for stationery and documents. Made of hardwoods like mahogany or walnut, these are very sturdy boxes.

This collection was donated by George Newton.


1. Rosewood with fanciful cut and inlaid brass designs around all the edges, a brass medallion on the lid and brass key escutcheon. 18” x 10” x 6 ½ high.
2. Oak, with two-part flat and sloped top, a keyhole for the flat lid; the slope opens to become the writing surface; a storage compartment is below. 16” x 9” x 3 ½ high.
3. Classic lidded box style in beautifully grained mahogany, having ink and miscellaneous compartments, pen holder, 18” x 9” x 6”high.
4. Classic mahogany lidded box. 18” x 9” x 6” high.
5. Classic mahogany box style with a bottom side drawer; storage compartments are above and below the writing surface; brass keyhole and fittings. 17 ½” x 9 ½” x 5 1/2" high.
6. Calamander wood in an unusual design with a treasure box affixed on flat surface, having its own lock. The front part is sloped and opens to form the writing surface; with ornate brass fittings including three medallions; very decorative and lined with plush blue satin; original velvet writing surface. 14 ½” x 10 ¼” x 2 ½ “high - 9 ¼” high.
7. Mahogany with dramatic grain, brass corner covers and banding on vertical edges, a brass medallion on the lid; the keyhole escutcheon is lacking; with original writing surface material; having the usual ink and pen compartments above a secret drawer, 15 ¾” x 9 1/3” x 5 ½”.
8. Sloped and flat lids with leather and gold designs on the sloped surface; leather also under the sloped lid and gold edging. The pen and ink compartments are beneath the flat top and have storage below, 16 ½” x 12” x 1 ¾” - 3” high.
9. Brazilian mahogany with considerable brass banding, string and corners as well as keyhole and name plate; beneath the writing surface are storage compartments; long drawer at bottom, 15 ¾” x 9 ¼” x 5 ½”.
10. Burl wood with brass corners and vertical banding; fine interior with leather embossed with gold and in excellent condition, a secret compartment beneath the pen and ink compartments, 15 ¾” x 9 ½” x 6 ½”.
11. Mahogany, flattop with brass corners and vertical edges, a brass key escutcheon and nameplate on lid. Storage compartments are above and below the original leather writing surface, 15 ¾” x 9 ½” x 5”.
12. English Tunbridge inlaid wood writing box, mid-19th century, the geometric inlay in excellent condition is in bands encircling the desk and along the beveled edges; the leather-writing surface is embossed with gold. A spring-loaded panel covers three secret drawers, 19 ½” x 10 ½: x 7” high.
13. Tambour top and front pull out drawers with a heavy brass handle; brass banding in around the case; there are many secret compartments, 17 ¾” x 14 ½: x 8 ½” high.
14. Mahogany box with spring-loaded secret compartment covering two rows of short drawers having ivory pulls; inlaid wood keyhole, 17” x 11” x 6 ½” high.
15. Tiger maple with brass rounded corners and edges a secret compartment houses two drawers with ivory pulls, a brass cartouche is on the top, 16” x 9 ½” x 6” high.
16. Walnut burl with brass corners, brass banded edges and a brass cartouche on the lid, a secret compartment, ebonized interior, 14” x 9 ¼” x 6” high.
17. Calamander wood with brass plates and stringing, c. 1860, blue leather interior, 13 ¾” x 9 ½” x 6” high.
18. Unusual solid wood writing box with a heavy brass handle on the top, 3 arched slates, 12 ¼” x 9” x 4” high.
19. Rosewood with beautiful grain, countersunk mother-of-pearl cartouche on lid, 14” x 9” x 5” high.
20. Oak file box with bottom drawer having a brass pull, keyhole escutcheon inlaid, an ivory pin, ink and pen holder; two doors close to form a slant.
21. Fine Mahogany box with beautiful grain, brass corners and side edges, nameplate and keyhole, 16” x 9 ½” x 5” high.
22. Ebony, vertical file drawers, a drop-down writing slope, a spring-loaded drawer; the highest portion has compartments for pens, ink and writing paper, 16 ¾” x 8 ½” x 11” high.
23. Leather covered case with multi-colored embossed designs, a high back with vertical slant, creating a writing surface of leather, a silk-lined top, tooled leather file dividers, a long drawer at the bottom, 15” x 13” x 9” high.
24. Walnut burl with Tunbridge inlay in ornate bands, rounded top edges, 12” x 9 ¼” x 5 ½”.
25. Solid wood box with nice grain, rounded top edges.
26. Triple design with lift-out drawer with satin-lined tray fitted to hold ivory implements, possible for calligraphy, with plush satin top lining and blue velvet writing surface. Nice geometric inlay, brass keyhole, top is centered by a brass and mother-of-pearl and abalone medallion, 12” x 8 ¾” x 6 ½” high.
27. Mahogany case with ivory keyhole and an ink bottle, 16” x 8 ¾” x 5 ¾” high.
28. Mahogany grain case, the velvet-lined bottom drawer is spring-loaded with a brass pin; the writing portion comes out of the lower section like a drawer, 11 ¾” x 8 ¾” x 6 ½” high.
29. Walnut with exceptionally beautiful grain with fine inlaid wood cartouche and escutcheon, 16” x 10” x 4 ¾” high.
30. Classic Tunbridge inlay with rounded edges on the lid; the inlay is a complex design with color and mother-of-pearl; blue velvet writing surface, 11” x 9” x 6”.
31. Classic Tunbridge Ware parquetry on walnut case, very complex geometric zig-zag pattern with good color in bands; a central design and keyhole inlay, 13 ¾” x 8 ¾” x 6” high.
32. Japanned lap desk; a lower drawer pulls out to open a tambour compartment on top; the case is decorated with painted birds, flowers, bamboo and has inlaid glazed porcelain plaques and mother-of-pearl; the interior has painted decoration as well, 13 3/4” x 11 1/4” x 4 ½ and 8” high.
33. Mahogany box with brass banding, stamped, having a cream-colored leather writing surface, 20” x 10 ½” x 7”.
34. Double door front opening with separate top opening in walnut with a beautiful grain; a deep bottom has a brass pull; the complex and ornate interior includes file dividers, 12” x 10” x 6 ½” high.
35. Mahogany box with attractive grain, a brass medallion on top, brass key hole, green leather writing surface, three secret drawers, 17 ¾” x 9 3/4” x 5 ½: high.
36. Japanned box, lacquered black and decorated with gold and colored birds, a flowering tree, etc. on the exterior and on the inside of the lid; the top opens and a file drawer lifts out; the slant opens to form the writing surface, 13” x 10 ½” x ¾” slope.
37. Mahogany case is embellished with cut brass, silver, ivory and woods; the edges and corners are inlaid; there is an unusual slot behind the pencil and ink partition top split, 13” x 8 ¾” x 5” high.
38. Rosewood lady’s lap desk with inlaid mother-of-pearl canter top and keyhole, there is inlaid silver stringing; separate flat top and slope opening; unusual pencil space and ink bottle, 11 ¾” x 9 1//2” x 3 ½”.
39. Rosewood with elaborate mother-of-pearl inlay in the center and borders; there is a top opening for pencils, and ink; a slant opening is the writing slope, 14” x 10” 2 ½” - 3 ½” high.
40. Lady’s lap desk decorated with mother-of-pearl on the center to and the keyhole, having a divided lower portion for writing and personal items, 10 ½” x 8 ½” x 3” high.
41. Mahogany box with a beautiful grain, original writing surface, ivory pulls for lid and bottom drawer; heavy brass handles and a brass pin, 18” x 10 3/4” x 6 ¾” high.
42. Wood with unique catch on the side of the pencil compartment to open the slope compartment; fine leather writing surface; heavy brass handles; a mother-of-pearl oval medallion on the center top is engraved “Sarah Farrand”, the lid adapts as a book holder, 18” x 9 ½” x 6 ¼” high.
43. Triple opening, solid wood; having a heavy and unusual letter rack under the top lid with heavy brass hinges, original writing surface, inset brass corners and center, 20 ¼” x 10” x 7” high.
44. Walnut with other woods inlaid around the border, ebony around the outer border with ornate brass corners, decoration on top and front; leather writing surface; a secret compartment covers three drawers with ivory button pulls, 18” x 9 ¾” x 7”.
45. Walnut veneer ¼” thick, a drawing of a ship with sails is on the inner panel. May relate to sea duty, 19 7/8” x 10 ¼” x 6” high.
46. Grained wood with rounded front and rear edges decorated with unusual inlaid banding of brass and abalone; faux rosewood interior, 14 ¾” x 10 1/4” x 5 ¼: high.
47. Walnut case with inlaid trim, bird’s eye maple interior, silver key hole, blue velvet writing surface, unusual ink an pencil compartments, 14” x 9 ¼” x 4 ½: high.
48. Three different veneer sections; exterior and interior with subtle inlay around the base; unique slope catch; bottom slide-out drawer; heavy brass handles, 17” x 10” x 6”.
49. Japanese abstract motif with lacquered interior, original velvet slope cover, a bottom slid-out drawer with recessed handles a silver shell design on the key hole; the exterior is decorated with lacquered circles, 16 1’4” x 10” x 5 ½”.
50. Solid Walnut with unusual slope catch and a unique secret drawer on the side of the pencil compartment with an unusual locking mechanism; brass banding, three on each corner; heavy brass handles, a bottom slid-out drawer; a brass riser mechanisms to enable it to be used as a reading stand or lectern, 17 ¾” x 10” x 6 ¼”.
51. Coromndel box with rounded brass edging and brass stringing top and bottom; has a secret compartment, lids on compartments for ink bottle and pens; good interior wood finish; poor writing surface, dramatic wood grain, 18” x 9 ¾” x 6 ¾: high.
52. Small leather case containing a doctor’s 1908 calendar and clinical notes from 1914, newspaper clippings, photos and negatives, 11 ¾” x 8” x 1 ¾: high.
53. Porcupine quill herring bone pattern within laid circles of bone, an intricate interior inlaid with “Ceylon” unusual drawers and compartments, very decorative, 14 ¾” x 11” x 3 ¼” - 5”.
54. Camphor wood, unique triple design with a secret panel covering three drawers, the catch to release the secret compartment is underneath; each slope has a lock; rounded brass edges and counter sunk hinges and lid supports, 17 1/4” x 10 ½: x 7” high.
55. Triple opening and fold-out slope of leather with slate plates, file dividers, writing paper compartments, silver slope key hole and a steel central lock; sturdy carrying handle on the top, 14” x 10” x 6” high.
56. Japanned surface with lacquered tree, porcelain cart & pot, butterfly; top and slope opening with lift-out tray, 12 ¼” x 9 78: x 2 ¼: - 3 ½:.
57. Rosewood with very fine inlay of mother-of-pearl and silver stringing; the complete interior has a secret compartment covering three drawers, inset hinges, high quality locks and catches 17 ¾” x 10” x 6 ½”.
58. Chinoiserie lacquer depicting traditional Chinese court scenes; lacquer decoration inside and out; a secret panel covers three drawers; bronze carrying handles. A note dated 1876 and a letter dated 1884 were found inside, 17” x 10” x 6 ½”.
59. Chinoiserie lacquer decoration inside and out with detailed scenes of daily life in China in gold and silver lacquer; there is a lower long drawer, 17” x 9 ¼” x 6: high.
60. Indian-style micro-mosaic inlay decorated inside and out; unusual design of top and folding slope; three are three drawers; liberal use of ivory, 15” x 11” x 3” - 6 ½: high.
61. Ebonized case is covered over the entire surface with inlaid brass cross and star patterns, edged in brass stringing, an ornate brass cartouche on top, 13” x 9 3/4 x 4: high.
62. Rosewood and elm, in Pennsylvania Dutch style pattern, finished inside and out, 13 ¾: x 8 ½: x 5” high.
63. Unusual construction with three slate pads, top writing surface, lift-out box and separate lift-out pencil holder, bottom opening and slate has file partitions underneath; made of burl walnut with a domed front and back, a brass center plaque, well-finished inside and out with fine dovetail construction, 14” x 10” x 5 ¾” high.
64. Rosewood with fine grain silver stringing, mother-of-pearl name plate & key hole; top an slope openings with six top compartments; beautiful finish, 14” x 9 ¾” x 2 ½” - 3 4/4: high.
65. Rosewood with delicate inlay of mother-of-pearl flowers, leaves and circles, lined with attractive wood, the lid to the pencil section also has mother-of-pearl inlay; good brass slope catch, locking device and handle, 13 ¾” x 9 3/4” x 4 ½: high.
66. Crotch walnut with ivory key hole escutcheon, milk glass ink bottle 2 ½ high, velvet cushion top lining, usually sturdy partition, 19” x 9” x 5 ½: high.
67. Papier-mâché, English Victorian, black inlaid with abalone shell, shaped feet, scalloped top, red velvet writing surface, 11” x 8 1/2” x 3 ½” high.
68. Leather lap desk with a note saying it had been brought from Sweden in 1837. Decorated with unusual brass and green glass studs and brass engraved name plate; ink bottle, file area and stationery compartment, 11 ½” x 9 ¾: x 2”.
69. Coconut wood with ivory or bone circles around the borders of the writing slope; wood scroll bar; sliding file/paper holder, triple opening, bilateral sloped top; all outer surfaces are grooved, 16 ½” x 9 ¼: x 5: high.
70. Light and dark wood inlay over the entire top and front surfaces; mother-of-pearl central circle; tooled leather writing surface; well-finished interior; ivory pull on lid to pencil compartment, 15 7/8” x 9 ¼” 4 ¾: high.
71. Flat rear top with a sloped front, exceptional inlaid banding and borders; large central and top inlays of black, silver, white and MOP; original velvet writing surface; faux rosewood finish, 11 ¾” x 9 ¼: x 2 ½ - 4 ½: high.
72. Papier-mâché and overall MOP, gold leaf and original painting inside and out; raised moldings are on the top surface, a design on the pencil lid, pull-out slope supports, original red fabric, 18 ¾” x 16” x 3” - 4 ½” high.
73. Edwardian mahogany box with secret compartment, tooled leather writing surface, brass corners and stringing, nice central medallion, bottom drawer, 22 ¼” x 11 ¾” x 7 ¾: high.
74. Light wood box with large solid top having front inlays of Birdseye and tiger maple, intricate wood border inlay around the top, beveled edges and corners, broad wood borders, 14” x 9 ½” x 6” high.
75. Leather portable lap desk with stainless steel topped ink well, writing surface with blotter and small covered compartment; a file area inside the top cover; a postcard dated 1913 and a 1 cent stamp were found inside, 12” x 8” x 1 ¾” high.
76. Sheraton satin wood case with a different wood border and finely detailed wood inlay around all borders; the top of the pencil compartment is inlaid and has an ivory pull; a heavy brass handle is on the front 15” x 9” x 7” high.
77. Domed box with tiger maple veneer with large inlays depicting a tambourine and flowers on the dome; black background 1” wide tiger maple band around the lid; darker birds eye maple around the base, 14” x 9 ½” x 4 ¼” high.
78. Walnut, home crafted, with brass ornament, brass piano hinge for slope, plain interior, four brass corner supports, 16 ¼” x 11” x 1 ½” - 5 ¼” high.
79. Lady’s mahogany lap desk with silver inlay around the borders, 10 ¼” x 7 5/8” x 3 ¾: high.
80. Ribbed overall surface carving, ebonized, with sliding file holder, triple opening with storage compartments, a scroll carved piece spans the top compartment, 16 ¼” x 9 ¼: x 5 ½: high.
81. Mahogany with bold grain, an inlaid shell on top, MOP key hold escutcheon, brass side handles, slant top, one piece, 14” x 11” 4 ½” high.
82. Probably Indian, unusual temple shape with ivory or bone around the tiered edges; there is a lift-out tray and twelve carved lids and round white wood circular stoppers, triple opening with compartments in the back; the carving depicts leaves, flowers, buildings, birds & animals; bronze handle, 11 ¾” x 8 ¾” x 6” high.
83. Vintage tambour file box with bottom drawer, walnut rounded brass molding on all edges including the file compartments, 12” x 11 ½” x 8” high.
84. American campaign style box, mahogany with fine grain, two unique drawers beneath the pencil holder; triple design opening with double openings to storage compartments below, a file holder under the lid; two keys and a letter dated 1919, 24” x 11 ½” x 11:.
85. Arts & Crafts style oak lap desk with flat top above the slant lid which is decorated with two large bronze-toned hinges with decorated with two large bronze-toned hinges with delicate detail an unusual lock is on the right vertical side of the top of the lid. Storage is under the flat top, 12” x 10 ¼” x 1 3/4” high.
86. Unusual design and jewelry compartment under top lid, lid and compartment open from the back forward to reveal the writing slope with pencil and ink compartments. Slope opens to stationery storage below. Ivory, mother-of-pearl, silver and woods of varying colors are used. The case is rosewood, 13” x 9” x 5” high.